One of the best holidays I have ever had was when I went to Mauritius in 2005. It was entirely unexpected, which made it all the more fun. I’d left a job, a friend who had been working in Mauritius sent me an e-mail and said come out. I checked British Airways and realised that I could get the entire trip on my airmiles if I left within 36 hours and stayed for 3 weeks. Happenstance at its best.
My first experience of Mauritian food was a roti – a flat bread filled with dal served from a wagon at the side of the road next to the fields of sugar cane. Deprived of sleep, and slightly jet lagged after a night flight it was ambrosial – warm, flaky bread filled with a spiced, flavour filled dal, wrapped in a twist of foil. I ate many other rotis during that trip – available everywhere for the equivalent of a few pence, but none quite matched the heights of that first one.
My experience was different to many who visit the island, I was staying in a house and travelling around the amazing island. It is a stunningly beautiful place, and well as the beautiful palm fringed beaches of the Indian Ocean there is much to see and do. Some of the things I discovered were the construction of a 33 metre high statue of Lord Shiva at lake Ganga Talao, a place of pilgrimage for many Hindus, a crocodile farm and giant tortoise sanctuary, the botanical gardens at Pamplemousses. I still wear a scarf I bought in the market at Quatre Bornes, I stumbed upon an English country church looking oddly out of place in the middle of a field of sugar cane, and I shopped for fish in the huge markets of Port Louis. Having been ruled by the Dutch, French and British and influenced by both India and Africa it is a fascinating place of cultures.
Of course we checked into a luxury hotel or two, such as at La Plantation in Mauritius, for the day and enjoyed all the five star services that they had to offer – the groomed beaches with comfortable loungers, delicious buffets and thirst quenching cocktails. When I go back I’d certainly be checking in for the luxury, but also taking the time to see the island beyond.
I cannot recreate the sun, sea, palm trees or the sugar cane plantations, but these rotis filled with a simple dal bring back some holiday memories.
Recipe: Easy Coconut Roti
- 225 g plain white flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbs coconut oil*
- 150 ml water
- Extra flour for dusting
- 1 tsp coconut oil – melted
- Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Knead by hand or with the dough hook of a stand mixer for a few minutes until smooth. Cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Divide the mixture into 6, then on a lightly floured work surface roll each ball of dough out to the size of a tea plate.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the both the top and bottom thirds of each roti with coconut oil. Fold each fold into the middle. Repeat with the left and right hand sides, so you are left with a square of rolled dough 9 layers thick.
- To cook the rotis heat a heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Whilst the frying pan is heating roll the first roti again into a round. Dry fry in the pan until it puffs and then flip over. Roll the next roti whist each one is cooking. Once cooked wrap them in a tea towel to keep warm.
- Serve immediately with a bowl of dal.
For more roti, flatbread or dal inspiration why not try these recipes?
- Michelle M’s Dal Makhani
- Michelle R’s Quick Yogurt Flat Breads
- Urvahsi’s guide to dal
- Sarah’s Chickpea Soup with Coriander Chapatti
- Nazima’s Sourdough Naan Breads
- Jac’s Spinach & Coconut Dal
This post is a commissioned recipe for Club Med. All opinions are our own.